Manufacturing in the USA: How to be prepared

There is a huge movement right now towards manufacturing apparel in America. We are delighted to see that our current manufacturers have a steady flow of work and even more delighted to see new manufacturers popping up to meet the demand! Manufacturing in the US in an entirely different experience than producing overseas. Different steps need to be taken to ensure that the domestic manufacturer has everything that they need for production. The majority of manufacturers in the USA fall into the CMT category. What is CMT? CMT stands for Cut, Make and Trim. Cut means they are cutting the fabric and bundling it for easy organization, make indicates the actual sewing of the item and trim refers to attaching the final trims such as buttons, labels etc. along with pressing and packaging the final garments. When working with a CMT factory, there are a lot of steps that a designer needs to take before they are ready for cutting. You want to have done your homework and be as organized as the possible so that you can begin your relationship with your manufacturer on solid footing. Here are the items that a designer should have ready before contacting the CMT manufacturer.

Production Ready Patterns
A pattern is the blueprint that the factory uses to cut and sew the garments. It is important to work with a pattern maker to develop this blueprint beforehand. Make sure each pattern piece is labeled appropriately, the seam allowance is indicated and even better, submit a pattern card. A pattern card lists out all of the pieces of the pattern and how many of the pieces need to be cut.

“Sew-by” Sample
One major step in the development of the patterns is to sew prototypes and samples. Sometimes your pattern maker will sew the prototypes or sometimes the pattern maker will work with a sample sewer who will sew the prototype. These prototypes will be used to test the fit of the patterns. The final sample sewn should accurately portray the exact fit and finishes. The final sample will be used as a “sew-by” reference by the manufacturer.

Tech Pack
Each factory requires different information to be presented in a tech pack. However, it is safe to assume that they will require the basics. It is helpful to have a technical sketch of the garment. You will also want to include a specification sheet that outlines the construction details of each garment, a point of measurement sheet that indicates the measurements taken from your sample as well as a bill of materials. The bill of materials is a list of every fabric and trim that is needed for each item. And don’t forget a cut ticket which specifies exactly what they should be cutting and sewing.

All vendors for all fabrics and trims
Sourcing all of the wholesale vendors for your garments can take a long time. Finding the perfect fabric, the correct size zipper, creating your custom buttons, all of these items involve lots of phone calls, shipping samples back and forth and testing each item. It is best to start this process long before contacting the CMT factory so that you have all of the information and sources ready to go for production.

All items for a quality sample
Prior to production, your CMT factory will want to sew at least one sample, if not more. This sample will confirm the price and serve as the quality sample throughout production. Having all of the fabrics and trims on hand for them to sew the first sample will ensure that the sample can be sewn in a timely manner.

Getting ready for production can be a big job. However, if you have the above items ready to go before contacting the CMT factory, you will be off to a good start. If you need help sourcing for patterns makers, fabrics and trims or if you need to develop a tech pack, let us know! We would love to help!